Before inviting potential listing agents to your home, you’ve got work to do. Get your house ready with this checklist.
Outside the house. Evaluate the landscaping and the general condition of the house. If you were a buyer driving by, what would you think? Does your home have curb appeal?
- Mow and edge the lawn. Clip the shrubs, pull weeds, and plant colorful flowers. The landscaping is a huge part of curb appeal. Make it inviting.
- Remove clutter. Toys, yard tools and other implements such as hoses, sprinklers and wheelbarrows should be put away. Evaluate yard art and furniture. If it’s worn or faded, remove it.
- Move trash bins to the garage or behind the house.
- Paint where needed. Repair and replace rotting wood. Make any other major repairs now because a future buyer’s lender will likely require it before closing.
- Pay attention to the front door. If needed, refinish or repaint. Clean windows. Sweep the porch. Powerwash, if necessary. Place flowers in a pot beside the door. Make it welcoming.
- Do not park in the driveway.
Inside the house. Declutter!
- Pack up figurines and collectables. Do the same with books.
- If you have unusual collections or art work, pack up and store. Leave nothing stacked on tables or counters. In particular, clear the kitchen and bathroom counters. Small appliances and cookbooks should be put away.
- Remove all firearms, taxidermy, prescription medications and personal financial records.
- Remove family pictures. You don’t want to distract potential buyers.
- Remove pets — and all traces of them — from the home. This includes bedding, bowls and litter boxes.If you are a smoker or have indoor pets, have the carpets, drapes and upholstery professionally cleaned.
Finally, offer the agent a spot at the kitchen table for discussion about marketing your home.